We are excited to invite five aspiring undocumented therapists to our 2022-2023 Mental Health Career Program! Through their program participation, they will receive professional development, mentorship, and supervision clinical hours toward their professional licensure.
Cinthia was born and raised in Jalisco, Mexico and is the first person in her family to obtain a master’s degree. As a teen, Cinthia migrated to the United States not knowing any English. She is a big fan of community colleges where she obtained two associate’s degrees in French and Italian. After that, she got her B.A. in sociology and a M.A. in counseling. Cinthia has had the privilege of working directly with the Latinx community for the past 6 years, either as a warmline volunteer or as a therapist-in-training. Cinthia has experienced first hand the high need for mental health clinicians in the Latinx community. Through the Mental Health Career Program, she hopes to continue growing as a therapist and human while serving her community.
Dulce Ortega Rojas
Dulce Ortega Rojas, MSW was born in Queretaro, Mexico. At the age of 11, she migrated with her mother and five-year-old brother to Los Angeles to reunite with her father. Dulce showed interest in school from a young age. With the help of her school’s college counselor, she learned about AB-540 and the doors it opened. As a first generation undocumented student, Dulce learned to navigate through the education system. At the age of 18, she left home and moved into a dorm room at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her journey there was short. At the time, there were little to no loans or scholarships open to undocumented students. Dulce went back to the community that saw her grow up, the San Fernando Valley. She enrolled in Los Angeles Valley College where she earned her associate degree in early childhood education. She then transferred to CSU Northridge where she earned her B.A. in child and adolescent development. In 2021, she earned her master’s degree in social work at the same university (CSUN). Despite still being undocumented, Dulce is a bilingual Associate Social Worker and a social justice and mental health advocate. She has worked with children, families, and adults in various settings. As a therapist, her work centers migration and generational trauma and she hopes to interrupt the cycles of maladaptive coping whilst honoring and centering culture and our ancestors. Dulce seeks to provide an intersectional and culturally sensitive environment for undocumented folks in the community.
Julio Cesar Zamarripa
Julio Cesar Zamarripa was born in Jalostotitlán, Jalisco, and is a first generation student and the first in his family to attain a high school degree. Oldest of seven siblings, Julio grew up in Sacramento and then moved to Southern California for nearly ten years to complete his educational and career goals. As part of the ESL program, he navigated K-12 with limited knowledge of higher education and eventually attended Sacramento City College. Committed to making a positive impact on students’ lives, Julio decided to pursue a career as a college admissions counselor before going on to pursue a career as a therapist.
Currently, Julio is a bilingual, psyschoeducation-focused Associate Professional Clinical Counselor specializing in working with young adults, college students, undocumented/immigrant individuals, therapy first-timers, and Latinx families. Julio encourages client’s healing journey through a liberation-focused and social justice lens further welcoming ancestral wisdom, community resourcing, and intergenerational work within the therapeutic relationship.
Born and raised in El Salvador, Linda Aquino left her parents and siblings behind to come to the United States at the age of 18. Due to the insecurity and the economic instability in El Salvador, she decided to look for a better future. Linda began studying ESL at Las Positas Community College from where she graduated with her associate degree in science and liberal arts in 2010, as well as with a Certificate of Achievement in health and human services. After workin several jobs saving money to pay tuition, Linda was admitted to San Francisco State University in the social work program and graduated with her bachelor’s in 2013. But Linda’s dreams have not stopped there. She went on to pursue her master’s degree in social work at San Jose State University, graduating in 2020 with the help of the SB 68. Currently, she is working on her clinical social worker licensure. It has not been an easy journey and there have been times where all her efforts seem to have been in vain, but there is always a light at the end of the tunnel and the hard work pays off. Linda wants to give back to the immigrant and minority community because she has lived their struggles. The United States is a country of opportunities, and they should be for EVERYONE!
Xingxing Wan was born and raised in China and arrived in the United States at the age of 20 in pursuit of better educational opportunities. She started her pre-MBA from Oregon State University while working as a nanny and a dog walker After graduating with her MBA in marketing and human resources in 2016, she worked in the private sector where she was treated badly and underpaid by her employer due to her immigration status. She was also defrauded by her immigration attorney who took her money and disappeared. Today, Xingxing continues working as a dog walker and nanny but she never gave up on her dream. Finding a career pathway that she felt passionate about, she went to Pacific Oaks College and finished her MFT program. Right now, she looks forward to helping people who face hardships associated with their immigration status.